Back to the Point: NHL’s worst penalty, Holtby struggles; more daily reads

Fighting in the NHL is a hot button issue
Fighting in the NHL is a hot button issue

Fighting in the NHL remains a hot button issue and the instigator penalty is part of the debate. (Elsa/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

A guide to this morning’s must-read stories around the NHL.

• As part of its look at the 20th anniversary of the 1992-93 season, NHL.com goes deep on the evolution of the instigator penalty…the worst penalty in hockey. (SI.com: Bettman’s 20th as Commissioner)

• How much longer until the Caps send struggling netminder Braden Holtby back to the minors to work on his game? Last year’s playoff hero allowed five goals on the first 14 shots he faced in yesterday’s 6-3 loss to the Pens.

• If things hadn’t worked out between the pipes, Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask’s backup plan was a career working with and fixing them. He can probably go ahead and put the tools up on Craigslist now.

• I wasn’t a fan of the Michel Therrien hiring in Montreal, but I have to agree that he’s pushed all the right buttons so far as the Habs have gotten off to a 6-2 start.

• Of course, they got a little help from another comically bad officiating performance. Ottawa fans have every right to feel jobbed after this phantom goaltender interference call cost them the game-tying goal.

• Ryan Kesler skated with the Canucks for the first time this season, but he’s still some time away from game action.

• Nice New York Times piece co-written by SI.com colleague Stu Hackel on the need for stricter concussion protocols.

• The Sabres should have built on their emotional win over Boston on Thursday. Instead, they got lit up by the Canadiens and Panthers and continue to struggle as the games wear on. They’ve now allowed 28 goals in the second and third periods, more than any team in the league.

• The young Edmonton Oilers need a yeoman’s effort from veteran blueliner Ryan Whitney. So far he’s not delivering. At this point, it’s fair to ask if he ever will.

• The Maple Leafs are getting a lot of mileage out of their third line this season. Really like what I’ve seen so far from Leo Komarov. Gritty, aggravating. Brian Burke would have loved him!

• A shoulder injury makes Brendan Smith the fifth Detroit blueliner to be sidelined already this season. Mourners are lining up around the Western Conference.

• The Ducks are getting shutdown mileage out of aging vets Sheldon Souray and Francois Beauchemin.

• They Devils aren’t just taking smarter penalties…they’re finally killing them off.

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